About Us

Intercultural Festival was initiated by Wake Up for Your Rights which was founded by a Rockwell-Collins, now Collins Aerospace, employee Esaie Toingar. Mr. Tonigar enlightened people about their rights and duties. His goals were to bringpeace and education to communities. He invited his cousin Diguemta Guetingar to join him in a common goal. Together, they created Wake Up for Your Rights as a non- profit organization in the year 2011. The missions of this organization are to promote peace and justice in Africa, provide a forum for people of the African diaspora and their friends to expand peace and justice in their communities. To support the efforts of the United Nations and human rights organizations in Africa in the promotion of peace, justice, and human rights in accordance with local laws.

Esaie Toingar was born and raised amid the turmoil of war in Africa. He was a former child soldier under the regime of Hissène Habré, a war criminal who abused human rights. His first experience of voting in Chad was brutal. When he voted NO on a referendum, he was slapped and forced to change NO to YES. Bitterly disappointed, Toingar vowed to speak for the oppressed/voiceless people.

Toingar eventually became a refugee in Nigeria and was resettled to the USA by the UN Refugee Agency. While in the refugee camp, he met other people fleeing war from different continents.Toingar learned that atrocities traumatize the oppressed wherever they go. Lack of education propels people towards violence and also become ignorance. Sadly enough, ignorance was the silent accomplice.

As a child soldier, he observed the suffering of his people. It was an experience that was, sadly enough, forever imprinted on him. Later in his life, Tonigar published three books. Toingar’s hellish experiences were collected in a memoir of survival. “A Teenager in the Chad Civil War”was published by McFarland in 2006. His second book, “Idriss Deby and the Darfur Conflict” describes the atrocities of Chad’s current president. His third book, “Blessed to Be Here” educates immigrants and refugees on how to overcome their struggles and successfully rebuild their lives.